Bulletin No.29 – Blunders Part 4: Local Blunders

Colourised version of photo by Bletchhhy (WikiMedia) under GNU 1.2

In previous bulletins we have looked at world championship blunders, other international blunders and why blunders happen.   Today, in the last bulletin on blunders, we take a stroll through blunders by some of Dorset’s top players.

We hope you enjoy them more than they did!

In The Beginning…

Martin Clancy – Steve Peirson, Bournemouth Grand Congress, 2012

Commenting on this position Steve says, “Now, every player of the French Defence knows that you can’t play Qxd4 if white can play Bb5+ picking up the queen on d4 but in this position that isn’t possible because of the knight on d7 so  11. … Qxd4?? 12.Bg6+  Oops (so as not to offend those of a more delicate disposition, I won’t share the actual words I uttered under my breath!)   12. … hxg6  13. Qxd4   I struggled on in shock for a few more moves – I couldn’t bear to lose in under 20 moves 😉 but I knew it was all over.”

Martin Clancy – Peter Anderson, Dorset Open, 2017

Having received a gift in the game above, it is Martin’s turn to be generous.  A move earlier Martin had looked at 7. Nb5 Nc6 8. Nf3 from this position.   Having had a few surprises in the first few moves and having burnt quite a bit of time, he rechecked it and decided to play it quickly but actually played   7. Nf3?? dxc3 0-1

Martin says “In my head Nb5 had been played!”

Ian Clark – Martin Simons, Dorset Blitz, 2017

Martin says, “Black has sacrificed a pawn and with his last move, 5…Qe7, threatens Bxc4.  White spent a while considering his options and lent forward a couple of times feigning to play 6. Be2 but this still allows Black to play 6… Bxc4.  White realised this and then saw an ‘in-between’ move which defends his pawn on c4 whilst also checking the Black King – all very logical.    Ian played 6. Qa4+?? and announced check.

I replied 6…Bd7+ and could not resist temptation, announcing ‘Out of checkand then ‘Check’.  Luckily, Ian saw the funny side and resigned in good humour.”

Pin to Win… or Lose

Allan Pleasants vs Keith Arkell, Sunningdale, 2011

Allan has sacced a pawn and probably does not have enough compensation but after 12.Be3 could play on.  Not sensing any danger he played 12.Bh4?? and had to resign after 12…Ne5

Timothy Spalding vs Mike Waddington, Hastings Masters, 2013

From here Mike played 8…d6?? 9.d5 a6 and he says “I assumed this countered the threat as in analgous positions!”  The game continued 10.Bxc6+ Nxc6 11.dxc6 and he didn’t even realise he was a piece down until around move 20!   Spectacular autopilot!

Mike Waddington – Roger Greatorex, Dyfed Open, 2019

Mike played 1.Bc5 and says “In a bad shape I planned a4 bxa4 Qb6 but forgot one very important fact!” 1…Qxc5

Forks From Hell

Ian Clark vs Martin Clancy, Bournemouth League, 2015

Black is two pawns up and any of 62…Kc3, 62…Ka3, 62…Ka4 win easily.   Instead Martin chose 62..Ka2?? and after 63.Nc6 Bf6 64.Nxb4+ the game was drawn in a couple more moves.

Robin Williams – Peter Anderson, Southampton League,  2019

Peter played 27…Ba3?? and resigned after 28.Qa4+  

Peter says “This was one of those horrible ones where you play the move and see the problem as soon as your hand has left the piece and before you have even pressed the clock.   You have to wait, as poker-faced as you can manage, hoping your opponent does not spot it.  Fortunately he put me out of my misery pretty quickly.”

Mike Waddington – James Forster, Simon Bartlett Memorial, 2019

James played 1…Bxa3!  Obviously Mike spotted 2.Bxa3 loses to 2…Nxe3+ picking up the rook, so calmly played 2.Bd2.   James continued the theme with 2…Bb4 and Mike forgot what he had seen seconds earlier with 3.Bxb4?? Nxe3+

New Discoveries

Allan Pleasants vs Ian Clark, Dorset Closed, 2015

56.Ke4 wins in straightforward fashion.  Instead of which Allan played the spectacular 56.Nc7?? dropping the knight and the game to 56…e4 Ouch!

Allan Pleasants vs Peter Anderson, Dorset League, 2019

It’s Allan’s turn to benefit from a missed discovery.   The game is about level when Peter played 29…Qh3?? and Allan replied 30.Bxd5+ picking up the queen.

Ian Clark – David Hardie, Dorset League, 2011

Ian remembers “Its about level and David offered a draw here. 20.Na4 and 20.Nb1 were both OK.  In a crazy attempt to get something out of the game I played 20.Rxd4?? Rxd4 21.Qxd4 and David replied 21…Ng4, the crushing move.”   Ian resigned 2 moves later.

We finish with three that are special in their own ways…

Mental Blockage

Christian Westrap – Andrew Manning, Southampton League

In Christian’s own words: “Here, I played 28. Nd1, simultaneously unveiling an attack on the black queen whilst covering the f2 and e3 squares.  Pleased with my multi-purpose consolidating move I began wondering whether to take on c6 after the queen retreats.  My opponent didn’t actually play 28…Qg1# but just sat there looking at the g1 square with a bemused expression until I saw what he was looking at and resigned!  Oh dear…”

Never Trust Anyone

Ezra Kirk – Mike Waddington, Hastings, 2014

Mike was playing a very strong opponent (currently 245) and had played well to reach this position.

Mike picks up the story: “He played his last move d7 with confidence and I believed he thought it was winning and I looked at the variations

(a) 1…Ree7 2.d8=Q+
(b) 1…Bxd7 2.Bxf7+ Kxf7 3.Qxd7+
(c) 1…Rxd7 2.Bxe6+ Rxe6 3.Qxd7 and
(d) 1…Bxd5+ 2.Qxd5 Rd8 3.fxe5 Rxd7 4.Ref3?? followed by 5.Rxf7

and was convinced he was right and resigned??

But after 1…Bxd5+ 2.Qxd5 Rd8 3.fxe5 Rxd7 and black is fine as the white queen is en prise so 4.Ref3 is impossible.”

Simplicity Itself

Colin Wilson – Mark Littleton, Wimborne Club KO, 2019

Mark stands much better but then he plays 28…Rd8??

He says “Yikes! I still remember the feeling of self loathing immediately after this move. Ian had been watching the game and later, as I was leaving, said to me “sleep well”.


We can all go wrong at any point in a game and overlook simple tactical ideas we learn as beginners.   However painful it might be when we blunder, it is always worth remembering back to Part 1: world champions do it too!


If we get enough submissions we will do one more blunders article later in the year, perhaps an Xmas special, so we would very much welcome more examples.

So please send in your own blunders (not other people’s please) either by email to Martin Simons or Peter Anderson or by using the form below.

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